Clock ticks ever closer to springtime wahoo run
The clock is ticking; certainly according to the America’s Cup timepiece on Front Street. Quite apart from having to have the boat ready for the festivities that will entail, the spring run of wahoo could trigger off at any time now.
In fact, there are some indications that it may have already commenced. With lobster season over, commercial fishermen are starting to work the areas around the island and banks that provide an ever clearer picture of the offshore situation. To this end, one boat, captain Stephen Cabral’s Sea Scorpion, had a cracker of a day when it managed to catch a dozen wahoo along Bermuda’s edge. The action apparently was somewhat localised, giving the impression that there could be a single large school of fish starting to make their way around the island, a pattern often associated with the spring run. Another boat had similar results a day or so later, picking up five fine wahoo specimens that topped out at a total weight of about 300lb.
As more effort is directed towards catching fin fish it will become apparent whether or not the run is actually occurring. Other results have included a few wahoo here and there as well as some school-sized tuna. That also may be indicative of the arrival of one of the more seasonal species that usually spend the summer here but often leave as winter sets in.
Some strong tides around the Banks may be shifting bait or conditions that favour trolling for wahoo and any other species that may be on the move. Springtime is definitely trolling time and it might well be now.
World angling’s governing body, the IGFA has undergone something that could easily lead to confusion this week. This is in connection with some of the press releases made this year relating to the rules that affect angling and fishing gear.
It will be recalled that the changes to the angling regulations were due to come into effect on April 1st. On Tuesday a directive came out form the IGFA that although the changes relating to the assistance that could be rendered to an angler were in effect, the other change which related to the line test was not yet in effect. This was as a result of questions and comments that had been received by the IGFA.
On April 6th, a missive from the IGFA alerted the angling world to the fact that that rule is now active. This communication stated that the rule which was postponed from its original implementation date of April 1, 2017 is now active.
The rule states that the “The catch shall be classified under the breaking strength of the first 16.5ft (5m) of line directly preceding the double line, leader or hook. This section must be comprised of a single, homogenous piece of line.”
For most Bermuda anglers this will have little or no effect, largely because anglers generally use fishing line directly attached to a swivel which, in turn, is attached to a leader that has the hook-bearing rig. On some occasions the line is simply tied to the hook.
Where this rule may have some effect is probably of concern to the organisers of billfish tournaments because the type of equipment utilised by boats, many of which visit Bermuda during the summer months, which competitively fish for blue marlin and other billfish. These boats often use several segments of lines that are connected together by various means. Usually referred to as a “top shot”, it is somewhat similar to the backing that is used in fly fishing. The intention of the rule is to make it clear for which line class a catch is eligible.
To put it in simple terms the line class will be that of the line attached to the leader, with or without a section of double line (which would be the same line), regardless if farther along (maybe hundreds of yards) it is attached to some heavier piece of line.
Fortunately for organisers of big tournaments, most of the crews that participate are top notch and have a very clear, even vivid, knowledge of the rules and regulations that govern their sport. Another change that has recently come to light concerns the Bermuda Marlin Release Challenge. In the newly released tournament schedule it was shown as taking place on August 6th with an alternate of the 13th. This has since been amended to take place on July 29th. This is a bit different because although most local tournaments take place on Sunday, this particular event is to be fished on the Saturday.
It is changing its format slightly because of the inclusion of a new sponsor, the Caroline Bay Resort and Marina and an expansion of events associated with the tournament. The alternate for this event should there be a weather postponement is the 12th August, leaving the weekend in between free for the usual Cup Match activities.
Warmer weather and more promising forecasts make this a great time of year to venture offshore. Even if the fish aren’t biting, there are natural distractions like the whales and the sea birds. Who knows, you might be daydreaming looking at the horizon when suddenly you get some Tight Lines!
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